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JFBA: Nukes "cause human rights violations"

May 31, 2014

JFBA opposes right to collective self-defense, nuclear power



TOKYO (Kyodo) -- The Japan Federation of Bar Associations on Friday expressed opposition to the government's move to lift the nation's self-imposed ban on the right to collective self-defense.

Japan should pursue "diplomatic and defense policies to achieve global security through peaceful means, not by military power, under the pacifist Constitution," the JFBA said in its resolution adopted at its annual general meeting in Sendai, Miyagi Prefecture, and released by its public relations office.

"Japan's Constitution, which renounces war before the rest of the world, should be the guideline" for that purpose, it noted. "We strongly oppose the move to allow Japan to exercise the right to collective self-defense by reinterpreting the Constitution as it goes against the (constitutional) pacifism."

The resolution came after a panel of security experts proposed the reinterpretation to respond to a changing regional security landscape, given China's assertiveness and North Korea's nuclear and missile programs.

After receiving the panel report, Prime Minister Shinzo Abe, who has a strong will to revise the Constitution, expressed a desire to remove the ban on the right to collective self-defense, or coming to the defense of an allied nation under attack.

Japan has long maintained that it has the right to collective self-defense under international law but cannot exercise it due to Article 9 of the Constitution, which stipulates that people in Japan "forever renounce war as a sovereign right of the nation and the threat or use of force as means of settling international disputes."

While Abe hopes to have Cabinet approval for removing the self-imposed ban, the lawyers' group said it cannot accept the policy as the government aims to revise the basic principle of the Constitution without calling for a vote of confidence of the people.

"It goes against constitutional clauses that designate the Constitution as 'the supreme law' and oblige state ministers and public officials to respect and uphold the Constitution" as a safeguard to restrict the government's power and protect human rights, the JFBA said in the resolution.

The Japanese Constitution seeks to achieve permanent peace without depending on military power and by renouncing the right of belligerence, and these principles "have a pioneering significance that we can boast to the world," it said.

At the general meeting, meanwhile, the JFBA urged the government to withdraw from nuclear power generation and nuclear fuel-cycle policy in the wake of the March 2011 nuclear disaster, triggered by the deadly earthquake and tsunami.

"It is a quite alarming situation and a serious human rights violation" that many victims of the triple-disaster still face economic and psychological difficulties even after more than three years have passed since the tragedy, the JFBA said.

Given such recognition, it also urged the government to terminate the policy of exporting nuclear power plants, saying, "Nuclear plant exports are likely to cause human rights violations and environmental destruction to the importing countries and their surrounding nations."

May 31, 2014(Mainichi Japan)


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